Ribeye – Reverse Sear
by Jonathan Hamilton
I’ve decided to add a lighter side to the Hamblog. Those who know Steph and I even a teence know that we are foodies. But let’s dispense with the formalities of adding a new category to the blog and get to the ribeye!
Being birthday weekend, I decided a small splurge was in order. So I dialed up my local meat man and ordered a 2-inch thick ribeye hand cut. He obliged.
Why the ribeye? Well, I’d recently seen this fantastic looking ribeye from Fudehouse. I needed to try this reverse sear thing. I grew up, like everyone else, searing my steak first and then finishing it on lower heat. Ostensibly, this was to “seal in the juices” (a theory Alton Brown has thoroughly debunked).
This reverse sear method is gaining in popularity and usage, and many restaurants use it to deliver a uniformly cooked steak. When we cut open a steak, we don’t want to see Grand Canyon-esque sediment layers (charred outside, well done outer ring, medium middle ring, pink or even bloody red center). We want one color all the way through, expertly wrapped up in a nice dark crust. My color is medium rare. I want my whole steak medium rare, not just the 15% represented by the center layer. The reverse sear answers the bell at this point.
Here’s how it went down:
First, I unwrapped the ribeye (this is really quite necessary, no matter how good of a cook you might be):
Next, I salted and peppered the ole’ bugger! As Fudehouse says, “More salt than you think you need, and a healthy dose of pepper” make for a great crust.
Now we move on to the necessary tools. First up, a rack of some sort (uncoated) over a drip pan. I used a smoker rack and a square cake pan.
Then, I plopped the ribeye on and plugged in the Chef Alarm by Thermoworks. This was my first use of this fantastic gift from Steve and Rachel Barnhart of food blog fame. In case you didn’t watch the 3-minute Fudehouse clip above, I need this steak to slowly get to an internal temp of 125 before pulling. With an oven temp of only 275, that’s going to take a little while, and I want to know exactly when it happens.
So I set my Chef Alarm and popped it into the oven. With the meat starting at 38 degrees, this will take at least an hour.
To my surprise (and chagrin) it took almost 80 minutes! I’m hungry!!!
Once it’s pulled, it needs to rest for 10-15 minutes. I decided to wait it out for the full 15 and continue gnawing on my tongue.
After about ten minutes, it reached it’s max temperature of 129.9 (above). Due to what’s called “carry-over cooking,” meat temp continues to rise for a few minutes even after pulling from the oven or grill….this is one reason it’s good to plan extra time and pull meat a wee bit before it reaches the internal temp you’re shooting for, then let it rest before cutting and consuming. It continues to cook after being pulled, so if you wait to pull it until it’s totally done, or worse yet already overdone, you’re hope of perfectly juicy steak is shot. This is why the Chef Alarm is such a great tool!
Below, you can see the temp held steady for a couple minutes after reaching its high and began to drop in temp around the 13 minute mark (it says 11:43 but I didn’t start it right away).
As you can see, it doesn’t look too tasty after it’s oven roasting session. But that’s about to be taken care of! At this point, it’s what’s inside that counts. I had prepped my cast iron ahead of time for the uber hot one minute sear on each side over a pretty high flame. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get the pan stinkin’ hot and thereby sear it quickly. If the pan is not hot enough you will have to sear longer, and you will begin overcooking the outer edge of the steak.
I did not have my pan hot enough. Bummer. So I had to sear for two minutes instead of one to get the crust. You’ll see the effects of this shortly. Here’s what the first side looked like after the flip:
After two more minutes on the other side, here she is:
The other huge benefit of the reverse sear is this: your steak has already rested for 15 minutes prior to the sear. You don’t have to wait any longer to cut into it, and the outside is still piping hot! Here goes…
What a beaut! You can see that the uniformity extends from the very center almost to the crust. My not-hot-enough pan that resulted in an extra minute of searing on each side is to blame for the loss of style points on my first attempt, but it is a mistake easily rectified next time.
This took a lot more time and effort than grilling a steak for 15 minutes, and I wouldn’t do it every time. But for special occasions when you want an expensive cut of meat done perfectly? Totally worth it.
Birthday dinner to remember!
Ribeye; Roasted Asparagus; Beets Sautéed in Butter; Rhodes’ Texas Dinner Rolls; Sweet Tea (pronounced: SW8 TAY!)